Warriors draft look: Centers


Warriors draft look: Centers

Draft note: In the hours leading up to tonight's NBA Draft, Insider Matt Steinmetz will be conducting his final NBA mock draft beginning this morning at 10 a.m., and will pick a player every 15 minutes. Follow along all day long right here on CSNBayArea.com! The Warriors head into Thursdays NBA draft with four selections: The No. 7 pick, the No. 30 pick, the No. 35 pick and the No. 52 pick. While the Warriors would seem to have four positions pretty much set point guard, shooting guard, power forward and center the reality is that they could go in any direction come draft day.Leading up to Thursday, well rank the top players at each position, and see whether or not they could fit into the Warriors draft plans.CENTERSAndre Drummond, Connecticut, 6-10, 270 pounds: The drafts biggest enigma is the drafts biggest player. Drummond has all the physical skills, size and athleticism to become a big-time NBA center.But there are concerns about his bust potential. His critics say Drummond doesnt take the game seriously enough and will have great difficulty dealing with the competitiveness of the league.His backers say hes young, is still growing as a person and a player that is on the right track.Warriors angle: : There is a possibility that Drummond will be available when the Warriors select at No. 7. That means general manager Bob Myers and owner Joe Lacob have a decision to make: Do they take a young, raw big man who is a project or do they bypass him for something more certain?RELATED: Did Jerry West rule out drafting Andre Drummond?
Warriors minority owner Jerry West said on Chronicle Live on Wednesday that the Warriors needed a player who could help immediately and not one who needed two years to develop. That doesnt bode well for the Warriors picking Drummond.Tyler Zeller, North Carolina, 7-0, 250 pounds: He is big, he can run the floor and he is pro ready. But most believe that he doesnt have much of an upside and he is what he is.On the other end, Zeller is the kind of finished product who could probably step in right away and be a part of a teams rotation.Warriors angle: In many ways, Zeller would be a good fit for the Warriors. Hes good enough to be the first big man off the bench right now for Golden State and thats nothing to scoff at.Still, it might be a reach to pick Zeller with the No. 7 pick. If the Warriors end up with Zeller, chances are they moved back to do it.Meyers Leonard, Illinois, 7-1, 245 pounds: Its a little peculiar why Leonard isnt getting the kind of attention that Drummond is getting. After all, the two are very similar: both have big bodies, both are athletic and both have room for growth.Strange thing is, Leonard no doubt has a higher motor. It just doesnt add up.Warriors angle: The Warriors need to get more athletic, and Leonard is as big and athletic as it gets. Most figure Leonard will go somewhere after No. 10, so if the Warriors pick him it means they really like him.Chances are, Leonard will only be a Warrior if they trade back.Fab Melo, Syracuse, 7-0, 255 pounds: If youre looking for a big body, a space-eater, if you will, Melo might be your man. There are questions, however, about Melos character after being suspended at the end of Syracuses season.Warriors angle: There is talk that Melo could be slipping from the early 20s to possibly the second round. If Melo is there at No. 30, the Warriors would have to give him a look.Festus Ezeli, Vanderbilt, 6-11, 255 pounds: Ezeli certainly isnt the most athletic player in the draft, but hes a proven rebounder and he doesnt mind doing the dirty work. Hes a very mature player off the court, and after picking the game up at a young age, has improved every year hes played.Warriors angle: Ezeli, like Melo, might be gone by the time the Warriors use their second pick in the first round No. 30. But if Ezeli is there, its tough to see them passing on him. Ezeli is not exactly like Ekpe Udoh, whom the Warriors traded in the deal for Andrew Bogut, but there are comparisons to be made there.

Russell Westbrook wins NBA MVP; Rockets, Bucks take two awards


Russell Westbrook wins NBA MVP; Rockets, Bucks take two awards

NEW YORK — Russell Westbrook moved past Oscar Robertson and kept right on going to the top of the NBA.

Westbrook was voted MVP on Monday night after setting a record with 42 triple-doubles during his historic season. He led the league with 31.6 points and added 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists per game, joining Robertson as the only players to average a triple-double for the season and breaking Robertson's single-season record of 41 triple-doubles in 1961-62.

"I remember growing up just being home, playing the video games and stuff with my pops, and my mom sitting there and my brother and just talking about maybe one day I could be the MVP. Obviously I was joking at the time," Westbrook said.

"But now to be standing here with this trophy next to me is a true blessing, man, and it's an unbelievable feeling, something that I can never imagine."

Westbrook's victory ended the first NBA Awards show, which included two wins apiece for the Houston Rockets and Milwaukee Bucks.

He received 69 first-place votes and 888 points from a panel of 100 media members and a fan vote to easily beat Houston's James Harden, who had 22 first-place votes and 753 points. Kawhi Leonard was third with nine first-place votes and 500 points.

Westbrook succeeded Stephen Curry, who had won the past two MVP awards. The point guard who plays with defiance on the court got choked up during an acceptance speech in which he brought some teammates onto the stage with him.

The Thunder went 33-9 when he had a triple-double, riding Westbrook's record run into the playoffs in their first season after losing Kevin Durant to the Golden State Warriors.

"Oscar, guys like him, Magic Johnson, those guys, obviously I wasn't able to see those guys play, but just to look back at history and see the things that they did, it's something that I looked up to as a kid," Westbrook said.

"I never thought I would be able to say that I broke Oscar Robertson's record, and that's just a true blessing."

Earlier, Milwaukee's Malcolm Brogdon became the first player not picked in the first round to win NBA Rookie of the Year in the common draft era, beating out Philadelphia's Dario Saric and Joel Embiid.

Brogdon was the No. 36 overall selection out of Virginia. The common draft era began in 1966.

"I think it's an example for guys that are told they are too short, they are not athletic enough, they are not real point guards, they are not real shooting guards," Brogdon said. "I just think it's an important message for people to see, and it can be done. It just takes a lot."

Teammate Giannis Antetokounmpo won the Most Improved Player award.

Houston coach Mike D'Antoni won his second Coach of the Year award, and the Rockets' Eric Gordon was Sixth Man of the Year after setting a record for most 3-pointers off the bench in his first season as a reserve.

"Obviously I'm just proud of the team and the way they responded all year. Great organization," D'Antoni said of the Rockets' 55-win season.

"This is not an individual award. This is a lot of people, a lot of hard work goes into it, and I'm the recipient of some pretty good players."

In his first season coming off the bench, Gordon set a single-season record with 206 3-pointers by a reserve. He averaged 16.2 points to help fuel the Rockets' run to the surprising No. 3 seed in the Western Conference and edged former NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala of Golden State by 32 points.

Golden State's Draymond Green won the Defensive Player of the Year, ending Leonard's two-year run. Leading the league in steals from his do-everything role with the NBA champions. He had a franchise-record 10 steals in a Feb. 10 game at Memphis while recording the first triple-double in NBA history without scoring in double figures, adding 11 rebounds and 10 assists.

The NBA formerly gave out its individual awards at various points throughout the postseason before switching to the awards show this season and presenting them all at once in front of the league's top players and stars from the entertainment world.

Two of the best moments came during segments that didn't include the NBA's six individual awards.

Bill Russell was presented the first Lifetime Achievement award, welcomed on stage by fellow Hall of Fame centers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, David Robinson, Shaquille O'Neal, Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo. The 11-time champion as a player and the league's first black coach first pointed at them and joked that he would have kicked their butts, then told them: "You have no idea how much respect I have for you guys."

Former Thunder assistant coach Monty Williams was given the SagerStrong Award for the strength he showed after his wife was killed in a car crash in Oklahoma City. He was given a colorful jacket like the ones worn by Craig Sager, the longtime Turner Sports reporter who died of cancer this past season.

Draymond Green named 2016-17 Defensive Player of the Year

Draymond Green named 2016-17 Defensive Player of the Year

Two days after Draymond Green said, in the wake of the Warriors winning the NBA Finals, that he no longer cared about the Defensive Player of the Year award, he got it anyway.

And he was very happy about being the first player in Warriors history to win it.

After finishing in second place in the balloting in each of the past two seasons, Green received the top honor Monday night during the NBA Awards Show from New York, beating out fellow Rudy Gobert (Jazz) and Kawhi Leonard (Spurs). Leonard topped Green in each of the past two seasons.

Green received 73 of the 100 first-place votes, totaling 434 points. Gobert received 269 points, including 16 first-place votes. Leonard received 182 votes, 11 for first place. The three finalists accounted for all 100 first-place votes.

Green posted impeccable overall statistics, leading the league in steals (2.03 per game) for the team that led the league in that category and averaging 1.39 blocks, as the Warriors also led the NBA in that category.

The 6-foot-7 forward finished third the NBA in defensive rating and second in defensive win shares, largely due to his ability as an irreplaceable force on that end of the court. Though Green starts at power forward, he spends considerable time at center -- while also playing point forward on offense.

Yet Green, smiling during his acceptance speech, also pointed out the work of his teammates, particularly Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, as the Warriors led the league is nearly every significant defensive category.

“This isn’t an individual award,” Green said. “There are five guys out there on the floor at a time. I can’t do this all by myself, so I appreciate them. With KD and Klay not making the All-Defensive team, I appreciated everything they do.”

Green earlier Monday led the media balloting for the NBA’s All-Defensive team, racking up 198 of a possible 200 points. He was voted to first team on 99 of 100 ballots yet completely omitted from one ballot.

If you want a splashy number, try this: Opponents shot 27 percent against Green when he switched a pick-and-roll and activated one-on-one defense, according to good folks at Synergy Sports Tech.

Green, who finished fourth in real plus-minus, averaged 10.2 points and 7.9 rebounds. He also led the Warriors in assists, averaging 7.0 per game.